Eat Your Way to the Finish Line: 5 Nutrition Tips for a Successful Race Day

Posted by | Posted in Biathlon, Exercise, Expert Tips, Nutrition, SportsCare | Posted on 10-09-2014

Finish-LineYou’ve made the decision: You’re going to run a marathon, a half marathon, a 5K, 10K or any other major fitness event, like the upcoming Memorial SportsCare Women’s Biathlon. Good for you! That’s a huge undertaking. And, while training, you might hit hurdles or hard times. You might feel like giving up. But, with the right training and some healthy efforts, you can do it. Go you! 

One aspect of training that gets lost in the shuffle but is an important, necessary part of your preparation is food. Nutrition training is as important as physical training–it can make or break your experience. Angie Sebree, a registered dietitian with Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, offers her top five tips for training nutrition. 

1. It’s not you eat, but when you eat. 

Sebree offers this tip to those in training: Figure out what time your event will be. While training, eat two hours before that time every day. 

“Train your gut,” she said. “Treat every training day like it’s race day. If you plan to eat one or two hours before the event, eat that way when you train in that timeframe so you will feel the same way when training as you will on race day.” 

2. Make sure what you’re eating is substantial. 

If you have the ability to eat a meal two hours before the event, do that. Sometimes, however, that may not be feasible. 

“If the race is at 7 a.m., you might not want to eat a large meal at 5 a.m., so eat a snack an hour before,” Sebree said. 

Sebree’s rule of thumb for race day nutrition: About an hour to an hour and a half before the race, eat 20-30 grams of carbohydrates and 10-15 grams of protein. You can hit these numbers with a serving of chocolate milk, a Luna bar, a Nature Valley protein bar or a hardboiled egg with two pieces of toast. 

3. Decide if you’re training for speed or weight loss. 

You will need to choose, as both might not be possible. 

“If you’re training for speed, you shouldn’t be losing weight,” Sebree said. “But if you’re training for weight loss, you should know your speed might not be your best.” 

Either way, it is still important to eat within that structured schedule. You might simply need to adjust your calories. That said…

4. Be sure you get enough calories. 

“If you don’t eat enough calories or get adequate nutrition, you’re going to get very fatigued,” Sebree said. “Your weight loss might stall. There is a fine line between eating and physical activity.”

Sebree suggests tracking your caloric input and output using MyFitnessPal or a Fitbit device.

5. Hydration is everything.

“About a week before your event, make sure you’re very hydrated–overly hydrated even,” Sebree said. “A standard 64 to 80 ounces per day plus what you’re losing during your workout.”

Not sure how to quantify how much water you’re losing? Here’s a good rule to follow: For every 30 minutes of physical activity, give yourself 10-16 ounces of fluid. 

The day of the race, two hours before event, drink about 16-24 ounces of fluid, with 12 of those ounces within an hour before the event. 

“After an hour of physical activity, start using Gatorade or other electrolyte replacing fluids,” Sebree said. “Shoot for 10 to16 ounces every 30 minutes.”

Calorie Postings on Restaurant Menus: Friend or Foe?

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition | Posted on 22-07-2014

African American Couple Reading MenuMany restaurants are now posting calorie information right on the menu. This is thanks in part to the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. Passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act requires all restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie information on menus, menu boards and display tags, and to provide additional nutrition information upon request.

Unfortunately, posting calorie information does not ensure healthy food choices. A recent study published by the Journal of Consumer Research reported that, when restaurants organized menus by calorie content, consumers chose higher-calorie options. Why? Researchers proposed that consumers tend to associate lower-calorie or healthier options with poor taste quality and choose higher calorie options instead. Interestingly, the study also showed no difference in food choices if higher and lower calorie items were intermixed. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Healthy Tips for Cooking for Two

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Nutrition, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 02-07-2014

Couple Cooking for TwoCooking for two can oftentimes be a daunting task when trying to make healthier menu changes. Recipes yielding larger portions, fear of not using produce quickly enough, or making the most of the ingredients we have can be common issues when cooking and grocery shopping each week.

Luckily, there is a way to make and maintain healthy eating habits to fit any household number. Micca Donohoo, a registered dietitian with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, recommends these seven easy tips to scale your menus and recipes down to fit your table for two. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Food Logs Made Simple

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 26-06-2014

Food-LogIt’s easy to think, “Oh, I didn’t eat too much today,” until you actually start listing off everything you ingested.

That’s the thinking behind the need to log food intake. According to Angie Sebree, registered dietitian with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, patients who log their eating habits have greater success at achieving their health and weight-loss goals.

“Writing down your daily food intake, even your exercise and how much fluid you drink, can help to increase awareness of behaviors,” Sebree said. “Awareness can be the first step in figuring out what needs improved and changed.”

Unfortunately, she admits, many of her patients don’t particularly love to log. They can see it as a daunting task, just another item on the to-do list they don’t have time for. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer is Here: Are You Ready?

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 12-06-2014

Couple on the beachEach spring, millions of people resolve to be “beach-body ready” by summer.  Unfortunately, summer has that tendency to sneak up on you, and by June, somehow those bikini abs have eluded us once again.

“In many of my patients, I see the weight loss happens slower than expected, or maybe not at all,” said Erin Spenner, registered dietitian with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center. “That’s disheartening and makes it hard to stay motivated.”

We don’t need to look like models—all that matters is that you feel good about yourself in the summertime and all other times of year. Here are three questions to ask yourself if you find your own progress has stalled. Read the rest of this entry »

Grow (and Cook With!) Your Own Herbs

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition, Recipes | Posted on 22-04-2014

potted herbsFor people who want the health benefits of gardening but don’t have a big lawn or a lot of spare time to devote to it, raising herbs is an option. With a few pots and some sunshine, you can grow delicious, nutritious spices to add to your favorite dishes.

“Herbs can provide eye appeal, flavor, texture and may add some nutritional value,” said Gayle Jennings, a registered dietitian at Memorial Medical Center. “In addition to adding a variety of tastes to common dishes, herb blends can be an excellent substitute for salt.”

Central Illinois is in the Zone 5 plant hardiness growing region. Before you plant herbs – particularly perennials – make sure they will grow here. Most herbs grown in Illinois will need to be in pots with well-drained soil. Read the rest of this entry »

Mind Over Matter: Manage Your Weight Through Mindful Eating

Posted by | Posted in Nutrition, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 02-04-2014

Young Man on Couch Eating PopcornHave you ever sat down in front of the television with a bowl of chips while watching your favorite show, only to look down during the commercial break to see that all the food is gone? What’s worse is you find yourself walking into the kitchen to get something else because you still feel like your craving has not been satisfied.

This is an example of mindless eating, in which we don’t pay attention to what we are eating. To protect yourself — and your waistline — from this practice, Erin Walker, a registered dietitian with Memorial’s Weight Loss & Wellness Center suggests adopting a “mindful eating” habit. Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching an Old Nutrition Label New Tricks

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition | Posted on 28-03-2014

New Nutrition LabeThe Food and Drug Administration’s iconic nutrition labels could be changing for the first time in more than 20 years, and that’s a good thing according to Memorial Medical Center registered dietitians Gayle Jennings and Christina Rollins. The new label will list total calories more prominently, add long-ignored nutrients like potassium and vitamin D, reconfigure the serving size calculations and include added sugars to the tally. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The new label will be more user-friendly for those following dietary guidelines.
  • Serving sizes will be displayed more accurately, enabling consumers to avoid “super-sizing” their food items.
  • Potassium and vitamin D, both of which offer important health benefits, will be listed on the new label in order to draw attention.
  • Added sugars will now be listed so consumers will know how much sugar is naturally occurring and how much is commercially added. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Slimming Ideas to Get Family Support for Your Weight-Loss Journey

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 21-03-2014

African American Family Having DinnerYou’ve made it through your first full week on your weight-loss journey. You’ve controlled your portion sizes. You’ve started exercising. All in all, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself as you relax on the couch on a Friday night.

Then your husband walks in with a large bag of Lay’s Wavy Potato Chips and a generous bowl of French onion dip. You’re going to give him a piece of your mind for tempting you – after you’ve sampled some of those chips.

Losing weight is hard enough on your own, but it’s also important to have your family on board when you set sail on your weight-loss journey. How do you get them on your side? Read the rest of this entry »

Portion Size Does Matter

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Nutrition, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 12-03-2014

Food Portion SizesEating right can be a dilemma. Even when we know what we should be eating, eating the appropriate amounts can be difficult. It’s hard to stop after just a few chips or a half-cup of frozen yogurt.

Recipes that serve up to six can lead to huge portions for three or four people. Making pasta for two might as well require a PhD. And dinner out at a restaurant? That hibachi meal for one could probably feed a family of five.

We asked Angie Sebree, registered dietitian with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, for her tips on how to maintain healthy portion size—at home and out to eat. Read the rest of this entry »